Ukraine’s Zelenskiy says Europe must avoid division, set low price for Russia’s oil
VILNIUS (Reuters) -Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Friday called on Europeans to remain united against Russia’s war and to severely limit the price for Russian oil.
“There is no split, there is no schism among Europeans and we have to preserve this. This is our mission number one this year,” Zelenskiy said in an address via a live video link to a conference in Lithuania.
“Europe is helping itself. It’s not helping Ukraine to stand against Russia, this is helping Europe to stand against Russian aggression”, he added.
Much of Ukraine remained without heat or power after the most devastating Russian air strikes on its energy grid so far, and in Kyiv residents were warned to brace for further attacks and stock up on water, food and warm clothing.
European Union governments remained split on Thursday over what level to cap Russian oil prices at to curb Moscow’s ability to pay for the war, and Zelenskiy called on the EU leaders to settle on the lowest proposal of $30.
“The price cuts are very important. We hear about (proposals to set the cap per barrel at) $60 or $70. Such words sound more like a concession (to Russia)”, Zelesnkiy said.
“But I’m very grateful to our Baltic and Polish colleagues for their proposals, quite reasonable ones, to set this camp at $30 per barrel. It’s a much better idea”, he added.
The EU states failed to reach a deal on the price level for Russian sea-borne oil on Wednesday because a Group of Seven nations (G7) proposal for a cap of $65-70 per barrel was seen as far to high by some and too low by others.
Poland wants the cap to be set at $30, arguing that with Russian production costs that some estimate at $20 per barrel, the G7 proposal would allow Moscow too much profit. Lithuania and Estonia back Poland.
(Reporting by Andrius Sytas, editing by Stine Jacobsen and Terje Solsvik; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel)